Curing Those Winter Blues

Congress and Washington are in gridlock, the Patriots have once again failed in their quest for another Super Bowl, and though it is freezing out the ice caps are melting. It’s winter in New England, that limbo between Thanksgiving and Easter; it is time to keep warm, maybe catch up on some reading, or perhaps working on the house. Most people are too busy to keep up with their household chores: clutter gathers in the closets, there’s expired food in the refrigerator, and that damned basement seems to be filling up with every unwanted article. Home projects can leave many homeowners in paralysis; you take care of the emergencies like the water heater flooding the basement and that broken light by the front door. Painting may be the last thing on your mind.

But there is hope. The days are getting longer. The Red Sox will soon be in spring training. Pick on project at a time. Maybe go through your clothes and throw out anything you haven’t worn in a year. If you can’t do that, then start with everything you haven’t worn in the past five years. Just start somewhere! Maybe it’s the medicine cabinet, where you stuffed all those pills for future ailments. Get rid of those old pills. Don’t worry you can always call a doctor. Move ahead. When you accomplish one task the sense of accomplishment can inspire you to move onto another. Think of the rooms in your house, maybe your favorite room or maybe that office space that you had always wanted to get to. Study the room. Are you happy with the furniture? Are the lampshades tired? How could you imagine making that room better? Make a list.

On average interior paint jobs are good for ten years before the paint loses its luster and gains a lived in look: high traffic walls show signs of wear and woodwork is chipped by the kids or the vacuum cleaner. Exterior painting protects the house as a barrier against moisture and the elements, interior painting is done to preserve beauty and create an inviting living space. Both add tremendous value for resale. People often put their house on the market and after having the decorators in to stage the house and the painters in to touch up the blighted areas they wonder, “Why didn’t we do this while we were living here?” Don’t wait till you sell your house. Start it now!

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Interior and Exterior Painting

Solving Paint Failure

Three summers ago, I got a call from Bruce Irving the former producer of WGBHʼs This Old House who had remembered me from the days my company had worked on “The Salem House” in 1995. He was at wits end with a clientʼs exterior cedar siding that didnʼt hold paint. Recently, the house had an extensive renovation that included new exterior siding and had been painted twice in the past four years by two different painting contractors and each time catastrophic paint failure occurred within the first year. I visited the site and witnessed the paint lifting from the siding like birch bark as if the house hadn’t been painted in decades. I met the homeowner and learned that both painters who had done the previous work were established and reputable painting contractors; they had primed with an oil primer and finished coated with a solid latex stain–the recommended products for this type of siding. Looking for a solution, I consulted with Shawn Clark, a respected paint expert and coatings consultant, and within moments of examination he had discovered wood fibers adhering to the primer coat and from this he inferred that a layer of dead wood fibers on the surface of the siding was causing the paint to fail. The solution was to remove the paint and sand off the layer of dead wood fiber to create a solid substrate. Upon further discussions with the homeowner, I learned that the siding on the house was installed in late November and the building contractor had left the siding bare for six months allowing the surface to develop a crust of dead wood before the initial paint application. The homeowner, for his own assurance, called in the Cabot Stain rep who took a paint sample off to the Cabot paint lab. The Cabot technicians confirmed that the paint failure was caused by a layer of dead wood on the substrate. After acceptance of our proposal, we strip sanded the siding of the complete house before moving on to the final coatings. Now three years later, the house looks like it was just painted, the adhesion problem is solved, and the solid stain is holding up beautifully.

Just last week, I encountered the same problem on wide red cedar shingles. With confidence I offered a proposal to the homeowner. The owner awarded us the job and we are comfortable standing behind the work. At McManus Painting we seek to discover the remedies to paint problems before we start. With thirty four years experience we have seen a lot of what can go wrong. Our goal is to prolong the beauty and durability of our work, guaranteeing your satisfaction. Each project is handled individually. We choose the products and techniques designed to give the best results.

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The Truth About Wooden Decks

Of all the surfaces decks require the greatest maintenance, but they can have the greatest beauty and and offer the most satisfaction to the home owner. Being a flat surface decks are blanketed with snow and ice in the winter and in the remaining months water sits on top as they often bake in the sun and suffer the wear of furniture and human traffic grinding grit into the surface. Condensation also gathers on decks, making them prone to mildew, and the constant wet/dry cycle shortens the life of the application.

On a new deck many product options are available to the homeowner. Transparent stains provide a unique beauty to a new mahogany or cedar; one benefit of these products is they have no film. But such decks typically require yearly cleaning and coating to maintain their original luster. You may also choose a semi transparent stain that has the slightest pigmentation and designed to show natural grain and beauty of the wood. If you are looking for a color you may opt for a solid stain which is available in the full color spectrum. Deck products are available in latex and oil as well as hybrids that contain the technology of both and in the recent years acrylics had become a hardier product, holding their color and resisting mildew. In addition to the conventional stains there are preservatives, usually they contain a wood colored stains in various hues of amber, red, and brown. Coatings with a film also come in natural hues and these products demand almost yearly maintenance to maintain their integrity and beauty. Sometimes cedar and mahogany decks are allowed to weather and over time the wood develops a light gray patina; such decks without applications tend to warp or cup, holding more water instead of shedding it as a properly maintained deck tends to do, thus accelerating their deterioration.

A properly installed deck is spaced to allow water to drain between the planking and wider planking tends to hold more water and warp more easily. Decks built too close to the ground absorb moisture and compromise coatings. Some deck products require all sides of the planking to be coated, but for most products a top side application is sufficient. Some deck products contain wax that causes water to bead up, but many of the finer products donʼt. Decks on the ocean or in moist conditions fare better with acrylic produces, since the oil products more easily provide a host for blackening mold and mildew. Many contractors these days are moving away from the oils, since the latest technology is moving toward the water based products which are becoming tougher and longer lasting.

Each deck product has itʼs own quirks and it is recommended that even the most experienced craftsman reads the manufactureʼs specifications before application. Painters and building contractors should apprise homeowners of the varies options, making certain that the choices are well informed and the home owner is prepared for the future maintenance. Neglected decks can be an eyesore and at a certain point may not be restored to their former beauty or require costly repairs and even replacement. But a well maintained deck can last for years, allowing the homeowner to enjoyment of itʼs natural beauty as an outdoor living space and an extension of their home. At McManus Painting we have decades of expertise and have a maintenance program for many of our clients. If youʼd like an evaluation and a quote on your deck, call now and get on our spring schedule.

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exterior painting gallery

How long will my paint job last?

Painting is one of the largest maintenance costs most home owners will face. Unlike a roof or a heating unit which last for twenty years or more, the average paint job last four to seven years, depending on the quality of the surface and the location of the structure, the skill of the painting contractor, and the tolerance of the homeowner. Houses wear differently. Homes on the ocean can be bombarded with moisture and salt and additional ultraviolet rays as the sun reflects off of the water. Flat surfaces that puddle water and have heavy exposure to the sun can cause paint to prematurely crack, blister, and peel. Some newer homes are built with finger-jointed pine and new growth wood that tends to absorb moisture and often pop the paint within a year or two after the initial application. Clapboards, not factory primed or back primed, tend to create long-term adhesion challenges, sometimes peeling off in sheets within a couple years. In the old days, the pine was from old growth forest and that wood tended to be dryer and rot resistant for many decades, while in these days much of the newer homes trimmed out in pine are prone to rot and decay often within the first decade of construction. In response to some of these problems thereʼs been a shift in the construction industry to build with synthetics and plastics. These products are stable and with acrylic paint they donʼt allow the moisture penetration as wood does, thus allow for longer lasting paint jobs.

So how long will your paint job last? It depends on a host of variables. Houses that are well constructed and where owners are attentive to making timely repairs of rot and making certain gutters and drainage are working effectively to keep moisture in check tend to have the best results. Before each paint job the painting contractor and owner should make a close inspection of the house to be painted. Painting over rotted wood or covering up rotted wood will only kick the problem down the road for a more costly future repairs. Homeowners should be aware that as the painter proceeds with his preparation–scraping and sanding–that thereʼs a likelihood that more rot will be uncovered. So it is wise to have a carpenter on call and ready to make repairs to keep the job on schedule. Once the house is painted it behooves the homeowner to have a relationship with the painting contractor to check in every year or two and seek out the few problem areas that might have developed over time. Peeling paint and failing caulk can cause rapid paint failure as it allows an entry for moisture which can accelerate paint failure and lead to wood rot. A few rounds of timely painting maintenance can add years to the life of your paint job. Not only will it keep your home looking good between complete paint jobs, but will save money in avoiding costly carpentry repairs and extend the life or your paint job. At McManus Painting we offer a maintenance program and a free evaluation. So call early and get on our schedule today.

Share

The Truth About Wooden Decks

Of all the surfaces decks require the greatest maintenance, but they can have the greatest beauty and and offer the most satisfaction to the home owner. Being a flat surface decks are blanketed with snow and ice in the winter and in the remaining months water sits on top as they often bake in the sun and suffer the wear of furniture and human traffic grinding grit into the surface. Condensation also gathers on decks, making them prone to mildew, and the constant wet/dry cycle shortens the life of the application.

On a new deck many product options are available to the homeowner. Transparent stains provide a unique beauty to a new mahogany or cedar; one benefit of these products is they have no film. But such decks typically require yearly cleaning and coating to maintain their original luster. You may also choose a semi transparent stain that has the slightest pigmentation and designed to show natural grain and beauty of the wood. If you are looking for a color you may opt for a solid stain which is available in the full color  spectrum. Deck products are available in latex and oil as well as hybrids that contain the technology of both and in the recent years acrylics had become a hardier product, holding their color and resisting mildew. In addition to the conventional stains there are preservatives, usually they contain a wood colored stains in various hues of amber, red, and brown. Coatings with a film also come in natural hues and these products demand almost yearly maintenance to maintain their integrity and beauty. Sometimes cedar and mahogany decks are allowed to weather and over time the wood develops a light gray patina; such decks without applications tend to warp or cup, holding more water instead of shedding it as a properly maintained deck tends to do, thus accelerating their deterioration.

A properly installed deck is spaced to allow water to drain between the planking and wider planking tends to hold more water and warp more easily. Decks built too close to the ground absorb moisture and compromise coatings. Some deck products require all sides of the planking to be coated, but for most products a top side application is sufficient. Some deck products contain wax that causes water to bead up, but many of the finer products donʼt. Decks on the ocean or in moist conditions fare better with acrylic produces, since the oil products more easily provide a host for blackening mold and mildew. Many contractors these days are moving away from the oils, since the latest technology is moving toward the water based products which are becoming tougher and longer lasting.

Each deck product has itʼs own quirks and it is recommended that even the most experienced craftsman reads the manufactureʼs specifications before application. Painters and building contractors should apprise homeowners of the varies options, making certain that the choices are well informed and the home owner is prepared for the future maintenance. Neglected decks can be an eyesore and at a certain point may not be restored to their former beauty or require costly repairs and even replacement. But a well maintained deck can last for years, allowing the homeowner to enjoyment of itʼs natural beauty as an outdoor living space and an extension of their home. At McManus Painting we have decades of expertise and have a maintenance program for many of our clients. If youʼd like an evaluation and a quote on your deck, call now and get on our spring  schedule.

Share

Solving Paint Failure

Three summers ago, I got a call from Bruce Irving the former producer of WGBHʼs This Old House who had remembered me from the days my company had worked on “The Salem House” in 1995. He was at wits end with a clientʼs exterior cedar siding that didnʼt hold paint. Recently, the house had an extensive renovation that included new exterior siding and had been painted twice in the past four years by two different painting contractors and each time catastrophic paint failure occurred within the first year. I visited the site and witnessed the paint lifting from the siding like birch bark as if the house hadn’t been painted in decades. I met the homeowner and learned that both painters who had done the previous work were established and reputable painting contractors; they had primed with an oil primer and finished coated with a solid latex stain–the recommended products for this type of siding. Looking for a solution, I consulted with Shawn Clark, a respected paint expert and coatings consultant, and within moments of examination he had discovered wood fibers adhering to the primer coat and from this he inferred that a layer of dead wood fibers on the surface of the siding was causing the paint to fail. The solution was to remove the paint and sand off the layer of dead wood fiber to create a solid substrate. Upon further discussions with the homeowner, I learned that the siding on the house was installed in late November and the building contractor had left the siding bare for six months allowing the surface to develop a crust of dead wood before the initial paint application. The homeowner, for his own assurance, called in the Cabot Stain rep who took a paint sample off to the Cabot paint lab. The Cabot technicians confirmed that the paint failure was caused by a layer of dead wood on the substrate. After acceptance of our proposal, we strip sanded the siding of the complete house before moving on to the final coatings. Now three years later, the house looks like it was just painted, the adhesion problem is solved, and the solid stain is holding up beautifully.

Just last week, I encountered the same problem on wide red cedar shingles. With confidence I offered a proposal to the homeowner. The owner awarded us the job and we are comfortable standing behind the work. At McManus Painting we seek to discover the remedies to paint problems before we start. With thirty four years experience we have seen a lot of what can go wrong. Our goal is to prolong the beauty and durability of our work, guaranteeing your satisfaction. Each project is handled individually. We choose the products and techniques designed to give the best results.

Share

How long will my paint job last?

Painting is one of the largest maintenance costs most home owners will face. Unlike a roof or a heating unit which last for twenty years or more, the average paint job last four to seven years, depending on the quality of the surface and the location of the structure, the skill of the painting contractor, and the tolerance of the homeowner. Houses wear differently. Homes on the ocean can be bombarded with moisture and salt and additional ultraviolet rays as the sun reflects off of the water. Flat surfaces that puddle water and have heavy exposure to the sun can cause paint to prematurely crack, blister, and peel. Some newer homes are built with finger-jointed pine and new growth wood that tends to absorb moisture and often pop the paint within a year or two after the initial application. Clapboards, not factory primed or back primed, tend to create long-term adhesion challenges, sometimes peeling off in sheets within a couple years. In the old days, the pine was from old growth forest and that wood tended to be dryer and rot resistant for many decades, while in these days much of the newer homes trimmed out in pine are prone to rot and decay often within the first decade of construction. In response to some of these problems thereʼs been a shift in the construction industry to build with synthetics and plastics. These products are stable and with acrylic paint they donʼt allow the moisture penetration as wood does, thus allow for longer lasting paint jobs.

So how long will your paint job last? It depends on a host of variables. Houses that are well constructed and where owners are attentive to making timely repairs of rot and making certain gutters and drainage are working effectively to keep moisture in check tend to have the best results. Before each paint job the painting contractor and owner should make a close inspection of the house to be painted. Painting over rotted wood or covering up rotted wood will only kick the problem down the road for a more costly future repairs. Homeowners should be aware that as the painter proceeds with his preparation–scraping and sanding–that thereʼs a likelihood that more rot will be uncovered. So it is wise to have a carpenter on call and ready to make repairs to keep the job on schedule. Once the house is painted it behooves the homeowner to have a relationship with the painting contractor to check in every year or two and seek out the few problem areas that might have developed over time. Peeling paint and failing caulk can cause rapid paint failure as it allows an entry for moisture which can accelerate paint failure and lead to wood rot. A few rounds of timely painting maintenance can add years to the life of your paint job. Not only will it keep your home looking good between complete paint jobs, but will save money in avoiding costly carpentry repairs and extend the life or your paint job. At McManus Painting we offer a maintenance program and a free evaluation. So call early and get on our schedule today.

Share

Curing Those Winter Blues

Congress and Washington are in gridlock, the Patriots have once again failed in their quest for another Super Bowl, and though it is freezing out the ice caps are melting. It’s winter in New England, that limbo between Thanksgiving and Easter; it is time to keep warm, maybe catch up on some reading, or perhaps working on the house. Most people are too busy to keep up with their household chores: clutter gathers in the closets, there’s expired food in the refrigerator, and that damned basement seems to be filling up with every unwanted article. Home projects can leave many homeowners in paralysis; you take care of the emergencies like the water heater flooding the basement and that broken light by the front door. Painting may be the last thing on your mind.

But there is hope. The days are getting longer. The Red Sox will soon be in spring training. Pick on project at a time. Maybe go through your clothes and throw out anything you haven’t worn in a year. If you can’t do that, then start with everything you haven’t worn in the past five years. Just start somewhere! Maybe it’s the medicine cabinet, where you stuffed all those pills for future ailments. Get rid of those old pills. Don’t worry you can always call a doctor. Move ahead. When you accomplish one task the sense of accomplishment can inspire you to move onto another. Think of the rooms in your house, maybe your favorite room or maybe that office space that you had always wanted to get to. Study the room. Are you happy with the furniture? Are the lampshades tired? How could you imagine making that room better? Make a list.

On average interior paint jobs are good for ten years before the paint loses its luster and gains a lived in look: high traffic walls show signs of wear and woodwork is chipped by the kids or the vacuum cleaner. Exterior painting protects the house as a barrier against moisture and the elements, interior painting is done to preserve beauty and create an inviting living space. Both add tremendous value for resale. People often put their house on the market and after having the decorators in to stage the house and the painters in to touch up the blighted areas they wonder, “Why didn’t we do this while we were living here?” Don’t wait till you sell your house. Start it now!

Share